Look Up is a participatory public art app that prompts New Yorkers to look away from their phones and into the street intersections to embrace the diversity and engage in the serendipity of the city. Whether it's strangers making eye contact and saying hello or friends hugging, Look Up hopes to tear down the digital walls we build up, opening us to seeing, acknowledging and valuing the people and city around us.
Look Up runs in the background and uses GPS to detect when participants are near an intersection. It prompts them to look up by vibrating and showing a notification if they’re in an app or showing eyeball animations in the background if they’re on their home screens. Look Up uses crash injuries and fatalities data to create a 1–5 energy score reminding participants why our streets need their energy, eyes, and “hellos”. The higher the score, the more crashes, and the more energy participants should put back into those intersections. Participants can feel the energy score through the number of vibrations and see it in the number of iris rings in the eyeball animations.
Look Up was made with Processing and support from Google Creative Lab’s Android Experiments. It’s free and open source. The iOS app as well as other cities will be available soon. So please email us or tweet with #lookupnyc if you think your city is starting to feel like a smartphone zombie apocalypse too!